One of my favourite things about camping with my boys is getting in touch with nature and while we do that in some ways even just relaxing at our campsite, I like to take it one step further with nature hikes. Discovering the area’s wildlife and native plants is fascinating, and my boys get plenty of exercise at the same time. Family fun that encourages learning and good health is a winning combination in my opinion!
To ensure that we make the most of our hiking excursions, proper preparation is a must. And for me, that means a Woods Hybrid 40L Daypack filled with my six hiking essentials! These are the must-have products that go into my backpack before heading out on a hike.
Plenty of Water
Taking water on a hike is obviously a must since proper hydration is so important. But it’s all too easy to underestimate the amount of water that’s needed for a hike. One cup (250ml) of water per person, per hour is the minimum amount that I ever take on a hike. For a one-hour hike with my boys, carrying a 1 to 2 litre bottle, depending on the weather, ensures we’ll all have an appropriate amount, plus a bit extra.
First Aid Kit
Considering my boys are five and nine years old, the hiking we do isn’t especially adventurous or strenuous for the most part. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still result in occasional injuries! From scraped knees climbing on rocks to irritating bug bites, minor injuries are pretty common even on an easy hike. And there’s always a chance of a sprained ankle or other more serious injury too! That’s why I always pack a basic first-aid kit and restock it each time we return to camp.
Just in case a sudden storm tries to rain on our parade, I pack an inexpensive rain poncho for each of us in my hiking backpack. While long-distance hikers may want to consider more complete rain gear, a poncho is more than sufficient for the shorter, less strenuous hikes that my boys and I enjoy. And since they only cost about one dollar each, they’re an inexpensive addition to our supplies too!
Sun and Bug Protection
Even on a mild day, the elements can take their toll on a family during a hike. Bug spray, sunscreen and hats help to ensure that we’re not treating bites and burns when we return from our adventure. Personally, I love the long-lasting effectiveness of Woods Active Sport Continuous Spray 15% DEET Insect Repellent. It lasts for up to five hours with just one application, making it a great choice for our short hikes. Canvas sun hats and a good sunscreen round out the supplies.
Flashlights and Matches
Whether we’ve intentionally planned an evening hike or not, I always make sure I have both a flashlight and waterproof matches in my backpack. On the off chance that we wander off our trail and end up out at night, being able to start a fire provides instant safety and warmth in an emergency situation. And if we’re close to camp but night is impeding our movements, a flashlight or lantern helps ensure we make it back to our site as safely as possible.
With two active boys, it goes without saying that I always pack food in my backpack before starting out on a hike. But in addition to the planned snacks for our hike, I also make sure to bring a few extra high-energy, non-perishable treats. Protein bars are a favourite because they taste great, fill us up and keep for months. And having extra food is good for an emergency situation but also perfect for a little extra energy if we decide to hike longer than usual.
Keeping these six must-have items organized and easily accessible is a dream thanks to my Woods Hybrid 40L Daypack. This backpack contains three separate zippered pockets so that food, supplies and emergency gear can all be kept separate. Added bonus features include an audio port for music player wiring and a hydration port for a hose and bite valve. For those that want to stay connected while in the great outdoors, there’s even a fully padded laptop pocket! Want to head out on your own hiking adventure? Woods Canada has an amazing giveaway that you won’t want to miss. One lucky reader is going to win a Woods Canada Hiking and Camping prize pack worth $750! To enter to win, use the form below. Please note this giveaway may appear on multiple blogs, but only one prize will be awarded.
What I love most about hiking is that it can be as easy or as strenuous as desired, which is partly what makes it such a perfect family activity! Grab a Woods Canada backpack, stock it up with essentials and head out to do a little hiking yourself during the last warm summer days. You’ll love the fresh air, beautiful scenery and family bonding that it inspires!